God has already chosen a person to help you.
I had not been at the church for long when I met the head coach of our local high school. He attended our church, and we struck up a great friendship. One day, he invited me to share a devotional thought with the team before the game and then stand on the sidelines with them. I’ll never forget going into the locker room for the first time. I didn’t know any of the coaches or players, and it was obvious I had just entered their sacred territory.
While everyone was nice to me, it was clear that the only reason I was there was at the request of the head coach. But as I met with the team week after week and stood on the sidelines with them during the games, the players and coaches began to warm up to me. Over the years, I became a part of the team, and they welcomed me with open arms. It wasn’t long until I had the opportunity to see several of the coaches come to faith in Christ and be discipled.
On the Sunday morning that one of the coaches was being baptized, I said to the head coach, “This is happening because of you!” He looked at me with a shocked expression.
“What do you mean?” he asked. “Well, you were the one who opened the door and invited me into this tight group,” I said. “If you had not done that, this coach would not know Christ today.” He smiled. God had used him in bigger ways than he realized.
Be on the lookout for special people that God brings your way.
As Jesus gave His men instructions about working their fields, He told them to be on the lookout for special people God would bring their way who could open doors for greater impact. He said, “And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town,” (Matthew 10.11-15 ESV).
In the time of Christ, there were no hotels for visitors when they went into small villages. Usually guests would quickly be recognized as “not from around here,” and they were dependent on someone to invite them into their home, otherwise they would have to sleep outside at the city gate. Jesus told His men to go into the village and preach about God’s kingdom, heal and meet the needs of the community. He also told them to look for someone who would open his home to them. He said, “When you meet this person, let your peace and the peace of God rest on them. Stay with them and don’t wander off. They are the ones God has chosen to open doors for you to share the Gospel.”
When you find a person of peace, stay with them.
God still works this way today. Church planters often call this person the “person of peace.” A person of peace is someone in your field — a neighbor, co-worker, coach, principal — who is open to you and your message, and invites you into his or her circle for friendship and influence. God will use that person to introduce you to people who need the Gospel.
You may be thinking, “What should I do when I find this person?” Jesus said, “Stay with them!” Spend time with this person.
In (Luke 10.7 ESV) Jesus said, “remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide.” This is a picture of community and friendship. Eat together. Talk together. Move the conversations from casual to personal to meaningful to spiritual to Gospel. Answer their spiritual questions. Cultivate a strong relationship with them. Earn their trust and respect. Let them see your life and how much you love Jesus. As you do this, they will begin to introduce you to people they know who need Christ, and those people will listen to you because of the influence of this person of peace.
Think about it this way: God has already determined who this person will be. God has given him or her an assignment, to welcome you and help you. So as you are meeting needs, keep your eye out for the person God has chosen to be this person of peace in your field!
You may ask, “What if I don’t find this person?” Jesus made it clear that if this person never surfaces, then it may be a sign God isn’t at work there, and it’s time to move on to another field. He said, “shake off the dust from your feet,” (Matthew 10:14 ESV).
For the men Jesus sent out, this meant that village was not open to the Gospel enough to welcome them in for the night. This shaking the dust off was a sign of God’s judgment on that village for rejecting the Gospel and God’s messengers. If you are praying, serving and watching, and if there is no response or no openness to you or the Gospel, then it’s time to move on.
Remember, you have four fields: where you live, learn, work and play. If one is not receptive or if no person of peace is identified, then move on to another field and ask God to surface a person of peace there who will open doors for the Gospel.
This blog features an excerpt from our book, Reach Your World.